Here, we outline the five basic steps in the immigration and relocation process for your non-EU employees moving to Germany. For more on how Jobbatical can take care of all of this for you, and for details on other relocation and settle-in services beyond the immigration process, check out our German immigration and relocation services.
1. Pre-approval application
To start the relocation process, the German Employment Agency must first check the conditions of your new international employee’s contract and if they have the relevant qualifications or experience. If your talent’s degree is not yet recognized, Jobbatical can assist with the recognition process.
The pre-approval letter can speed up the visa process significantly.
After submitting the application, pre-approval will take around 5-15 working days. Your employee will need the approval document for their visa application. Note that if your talent qualifies for the Blue Card, they don’t technically need pre-approval, but it’s still advised because visa officers may ask for it.
2. Visa application
Most non-EU citizens relocating to Germany have to apply for a visa at their closest German Diplomatic Mission before entering the country.
Your employees will be applying for a work visa and any accompanying family members will apply for a dependent visa. The visa is normally issued for 6 months and allows the employee to start working right away once they enter Germany.
The talent will have to go to the embassy in person and give their fingerprints. Processing time is usually around 10 days but can take longer.
Note that booking an appointment is necessary for this step. Due to Covid-19, the German Diplomatic Mission is not operating at full capacity and appointments can only be made for some visa categories.
3. Entry to Germany
Once your talent’s German visa is secured, they are free to travel to Germany (keeping in mind any possible travel restrictions in effect at any given time). The border police may ask for proof of health insurance or of employment in Germany, so your relocating employee should have proof of health insurance and work contract ready when crossing the border.
They may also be asked to show proof of accommodation. People relocating with spouses and/or children should have their marriage certificate and/or children’s birth certificates with them.
4. Town Hall Registration
The town hall registration is a key step in the relocation process. The town hall will issue your talent with a Registration Certificate they will need for all kinds of administrative tasks (e.g. opening a bank account, residence permit application, etc.) For the registration, your employee needs to visit the town hall in person within 14 days after their arrival in Germany.
Please note that the landlord confirmation is a mandatory document for the town hall registration. Usually, Airbnb hosts or hotels don’t normally issue them.
5. Residence permit (Blue Card)
To get their visa converted into their final residence permit, your employee needs an in-person appointment to give their fingerprints one more time. The residence permit can be issued for a maximum period of 4 years, depending on what the immigration officer decides.
It can take up to 4-6 weeks for the residence permit (eAT, elektronischer Aufenthaltstitel) to be ready for pickup. The residence permit will allow your international employees to travel in and out of Germany and in the whole Schengen area for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period.
Please remember that immigration offices in Germany are busy and it can take several weeks or even months to file residence permit applications. In Berlin, Jobbatical can file applications via a fast-track process. As official partners of the Berlin Foreigners Authority (Landesamt für Einwanderung), we can send completed applications to their system over a secure interface. The applications will be processed by the authorities immediately, reducing waiting time down to only 2-3 working days.
Useful information about the EU Blue Card Germany
The EU Blue Card is a special residence permit for international academics seeking employment in Germany. This category has major benefits, such as the possibility to already apply for an unlimited residence permit after 21 or 33 months, depending on language skill levels. Another big benefit of the Blue Card is that relocating spouses don’t need to have any knowledge of the German Language.
To qualify for an EU Blue Card, your talent needs to meet these requirements:
- Work contract or job offer from a German company;
- A position that matches their qualifications;
- A salary in Germany that meets the salary criteria;
- A degree from a German university or a recognized foreign university.
6. Settle-in support
The relocation process is a stressful time, but there are many things you can do to make sure your international employees have the best possible start to their life in Germany. These are some of the key steps of the settle-in process to consider supporting them with:
- Airport pickup;
- Short-term accommodation and long-term rental search;
- Bank account opening;
- Health insurance registration;
- Tax ID and social security number;
- Translation and other local support.
Jobbatical’s Global Mobility team in Germany is ready to provide everything your talent needs for an exceptional relocation experience. Our immigration specialists are local professionals with the expertise, hands-on attitude, and dedication to support your international employees and their families.